Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Jaguar Land Rover to make 'substantial' job cuts

Staff gather outside the Jaguar Land Rover site in Halewood Knowsley Merseyside. The luxury carmaker which employs 44,000 workers in the UK at sites in Halewood on Merseyside and Solihull Castle Bromwich and Wolverhampton in the West Midlands is givi Staff gather outside the Jaguar Land Rover site in Halewood Knowsley Merseyside ahead of the job announcement
Patty Aguilar | 10 January, 2019, 22:41

Ralf Speth, chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover, said: "We are taking decisive action to help deliver long-term growth, in the face of multiple geopolitical and regulatory disruptions as well as technology challenges facing the automotive industry".

Other UK-based automakers have also been vocal about their Brexit concerns, including Toyota (TM) and Nissan (7201.T), which produce a combined 640,000 cars in the country each year.

Sales of cars in China dropped by 6%, to 22.7 million, during 2018, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) in the market's first decline for two decades.

Jaguar employs 44,000 workers in the United Kingdom at sites in Halewood on Merseyside and Solihull, Castle Bromwich and Wolverhampton in the West Midlands.

Owned by India's Tata Motors, JLR also said it will build electric drive units at its Wolverhampton engine plant and create a new battery assembly centre in Hams Hall, near Birmingham, as it develops a greener vehicle range.

The company has opened a £1bn plant to Slovakia where it now employs 1,500 people.

The turnaround plan hinges around 2.5 billion pound cash savings, which will be materialised by cutting costs and improving cash flows.

The firm reported a £90m pre-tax loss in the three months to 30 September, compared with a £385m profit in the same period in 2017.

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The BBC reports up to 5,000 employees could be cut at the company.

"The economic slowdown in China along with ongoing trade tensions is continuing to influence consumer confidence", said JLR Chief Commercial Officer Felix Brautigam.

The job cuts come as Ford and JLR have been hit by a fall in demand for diesel-engined cars and after European policy-makers last month agreed stricter pollution limits, forcing auto makers to accelerate investments to make electric cars.

Hundreds of Wolverhampton JLR workers were sent home on full pay in the run-up to Christmas, as production was slowed down in the wake of falling sales, while around 200 jobs were axed in Solihull.

Britain's business minister Greg Clark said a no-deal Brexit would be a disaster for the firm.

Electric cars such as the Jaguar i-Pace (above) aren't cheap to produce, and JLR is grappling with an global footprint to ensure it's building its growing range of vehicles in territories where it makes sense, near customers and where the business case is strongest.

Ford's Armstrong said pressure to build electric and hybrid cars had forced the vehicle maker to make choices about where to allocate its capital. The company said it would start a voluntary buyout program and implement a flatter management system as it increases investment in areas such as electrification.

"Jaguar Land Rover workers have had to endure a great deal of uncertainty over recent months as they continue to work hard to ensure the carmaker remains a global leader". Its new Slovakian factory has a capacity of 150,000.

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